It’s a man’s world! This is particularly true if you are talking about the digital world. While women are steadily finding their way in STEM-related jobs, IT remains a field that is dominated by men. Less than 15% of Belgium’s IT corps is made up of women. IT companies find it increasingly hard to find IT skilled people, but at the same time half of our population is not joining in because “IT is just nothing for girls”.
Coding with some sparkles
For that reason, CoderDojo came up with CoderDojo 4 Divas, an annual event that helps girls discover the world of coding. On Saturday 13 October 2018, our divas gathered for the third year in a row. We organised an entire afternoon full of coding workshops, boys not allowed. Girls could learn how to make their own video game, develop a home-made app on their smartphone or even make a small electrical installation.
For the first time in CoderDojo 4 Divas history, we hosted two events at the same time. While Dutch-speaking coders gathered in Antwerp for their digital bath, French speakers were welcomed on the first Walloon edition of CoderDojo 4 Divas, renamed “Cool girls code”. Connected by a video call, girls on both sides of the linguistic border could learn from eachother.
Another novelty was the introduction of the duo concept in Flanders. We noticed that convincing girls to start coding is not always enough. Life changing decisions are made with the support of the women they look up to. Therefore, we asked all our participants to bring their mother, grandmother, big sister or best friend so they could discover coding together and share their passion with their role models.
Speaking of role models: all of our coaches were girls as well. For them, it was a first experience coaching peers and spreading their passion for coding. They teamed up with their own mothers, grandmothers, big sisters and best friends to show everyone how coding brings people together.
No boys allowed
Why was this event just for girls? While we noticed that boys find their way to our coding clubs, girls often need an extra push. So we created a girl-friendly environment where participants could meet up and share their experiences together.
Every time a girl joins a CoderDojo club or showcases a project on Coolest Projects, we noticed that they look at technological problems from a different angle. Girls are more likely to link their projects to social problems or just use their imagination to connect with others. We are so eager to see what could happen when these set of skills go professional.